Community News for Sept. 10, 2013

Family searches topic for Livingston Historical

Jeff Boyd and Pat Kinchen Bezat spoke about their search for Kinchen and Bankston family histories to the Edward Livingston Historical Association on Aug. 15 at the Livingston Parish Library in Livingston.

Their research included the Library of Virginia, the National Archives and the North Carolia State Archives. They located original wills from the early 1700s and other meaningful documents. They found the Kinchens were in Virginia in the early 1600s, with the name having several spellings.

Michel-Antoine Nicolas, president of the Louisiana Basque-American Society and Cultural Organization, will speak about how DNA testing is used in genealogy at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19.

La. Bonsai Society holds hands-on workshop

The Louisiana Bonsai Society held a hands-on workshop Aug. 20. Members brought their bonsai to work on, and Randy Johnson donated desert rose plants to start as a nontraditional bonsai.

Each month, members bring bonsai for the club to see and study what can be done to improve them.

Buck Lawrence, Mississippi Gulf Coast Bonsai Society president, will attend the next regular club meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd. For information, call Lowell Tilley, (225) 272-6744 or email

Cortana Kiwanis hears about bonsai group

Gulf Coast Bonsai Foundation organizer Lowell Tilley spoke to the Cortana Kiwanis Club on Aug. 22.

The foundation was organized to preserve bonsai specimens to pass on to the next generation and is working with LSU AgCenter at Burden Gardens to establish a permanent bonsai exhibit.

The Cortana Kiwanis Club meets at 7:30 a.m. Thursdays at the Piccadilly Cafeteria, 3332 S. Sherwood Blvd. Guests are welcome to attend. Contact Tilley, or (225) 272-6744.

Sign language classes offered through Oct. 19

Dr. Kimberly D. Bessix was guest speaker and student at the Aug. 24 Communicating Thru Sign basic sign language class.

CTS is expanding its outreach to workers, business owners and leaders to be a part of free sign language classes to learn how to communicate with the deaf in their workplaces.

Bessix has dental practices in Baker and Maringouin.

Classes are offered from 10 a.m. to noon every other Saturday through Oct. 19 at the Carver Branch Library.

To sign up for the classes, email communicatingthru For more information about CTS, call (225) 329-4432 or visit

Catholic Scouting group presents annual awards

The Catholic Committee on Scouting held its annual awards ceremony Aug. 25 at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from the Baton Rouge Diocese worked with 18 emblems counselors to earn their Catholic Scouting Medals. These emblems counselors were recognized at the ceremony and received a certificate of gratitude for their service.

The Rev. Randy Cuevas, former National Catholic Scouting chaplain, presided along with Deacon Richard Grant, chaplain for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The 125 Scouts represented 21 parishes.

Two special projects were recognized. Ship 7 at the St. Francis de Sales Deaf Center helped clean the grounds of the center. In recognition, they received the Pope Paul VI National Unit Award.

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 10188 from St. George Catholic Church received the Light in the Lord, Bishop Ott Service Recognition Award for demonstrating service to the community in keeping with the ideals expressed by former Baton Rouge Bishop Stanley Ott. This group built a butterfly garden at the St. Vincent de Paul Sweet Dreams Women and Children Shelter.

Guests at the ceremony included Robin Guillmette, of the Girl Scouts Louisiana East Council; Eric Howell, of the Boy Scouts of America Istrouma Area Council; and Russell Ruh, who led the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard.

Mary Rosenbloom and Louis Wendt provided music.

Youth raises $3,200 for Camp Dream Street

When Runnels School eighth-grader Max Sager celebrated his bar mitzvah last year, he used the occasion to raise $3,200 for Camp Dream Street, a summer camp program for children with physical disabilities.

Sager asked family and friends to donate to the Camp Dream Street Fund rather than give him presents. He also teamed up with local Baton Rouge eatery Bistro Byronz to round up contributions. With Sager handling public relations, the restaurant held a fundraiser Feb. 4 and donated 20 percent of food and drink purchases and 10 percent of carry-out orders to the fund.

He chose Camp Dream Street because of his love for athletics. Camp Dream Street, which began in 1975, is sponsored by the National Federation of Temple Youth’s Southern region. About 60 children between the ages of 8 and 14 with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, communicative disorders or other developmental disabilities attend the camp in Utica, Miss., free of charge. Most come from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and west Tennessee.

At the four-day, overnight camp, youngsters participate in typical summer camp activities such as athletics, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, exploring the outdoors, arts and crafts, and singing. This summer, Sager and his family visited the camp.

“When we arrived,” he said, “it was time for what they called the sports showcase, and some of the kids were playing basketball with the items I had purchased with the money my friends, family and I donated. While there, I also watched kids swing on the zip line and have free swim. We had lunch with some of the staff and campers and watched the song session. It was an amazing feeling to see those kids benefit from the new equipment and see all of the things those kids can do.”

New Iberia Naval Air Station reunion set

A 50-year reunion for personnel who served at New Iberia Naval Air Station from 1960-64 will be Oct. 11-13 at the Ramada Conference Center in New Iberia. Event planners Bud Forrest, Dick Spears, Paul Fair and David Degroat expect more than 200 attendees.

For information, contact Spears at (337) 288-2326 or Forrest at (337) 380-2288.

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